Lawyerwaka.com met with Mr. Moshood Abiola, an aspirant contesting for the post of the Secretary in the NBA Lagos Branch Elections 2019.
The amiable gentleman gave an insight into his plans for the Secretariat of the Premier Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association.
1. lawyerwaka.com – You have been cleared to contest for the post of the Secretary of Lagos NBA, how does it feel to be cleared for the post?
Moshood Abiola. – I give thanks to the almighty God and also to my campaign support team who have been working very hard. I feel humbled.
2. LW. – For your campaign, what do you envisage as your biggest challenge and how do intend to tackle same?
MA. – Well my biggest challenge is to continue to discharge my current duties as Publicity Secretary to members of our great branch, the Premier Bar whilst at the same time campaigning to be elected as Secretary. I still have about two months in office as Publicity Secretary and I don’t want anything even my campaign to be a distraction from the performance of the obligations of my office which I was elected to do. It’s a fine balancing act and I am confident that it will not be a problem. Our Law Week is fast approaching and as well being a member of the executive committee, I am also a part of the law week planning committee and a member of the publicity subcommittee as well. It is one of our traditional events at the branch and we are hoping to deliver a world class event to our members and the public this year.
3. LW. – Do you know or have any relationship with any of your opponents in this election?
MA. – Not exactly. I know them as members of the branch but beyond that I don’t have any relationship with any of them. I believe they also have good intentions and want to serve the branch. However, with all sense of humility, I believe I am the most competent and most qualified with my track record and recent experience as part of the present executive committee of the branch for the job of managing the Secretariat of our branch being the most critical structure of the branch.
4. LW. – In the declaration of your intention to run for office you have released many statements to the prospective electorate, what would you say is the nucleus of your manifesto?
MA. –Thank you. I have a burning desire to see the secretariat as a solution provider to the problems, complaints and enquiries from our members and the general public who need to deal with the secretariat. We have heard of instances in the past when potential clients need to verify the credibility or membership status of a lawyer and they call the NBA to do so but don’t get a positive result. This will be a thing of the past. The branch secretariat under my watch will have directory of our members both online on our website and at the secretariat so that anyone from anywhere in the world can log in online or call the secretariat to confirm the membership status of anybody who claims to be our member. The second most important issue to me is also the stamp application process. I will immediately on assumption of office if I am elected, declare a state of emergency in this area. I have a firsthand experience of the problems with the stamp delivery process and I intend to tackle it headlong. It is critically important that urgent steps be taken to drastically shorten the length of time that it takes for our members to get their stamps. I have put some of the steps in motion as a current member of the executive committee and this has required me to personally assist in the process to make things faster. As secretary, I will do more to ensure that the process is no longer stressful for our members.
I want a secretariat that will be alive to its responsibilities to our members. Members are the reason why the branch exist and the distinguished members of our great branch are the reason why we are called the Premier Bar. We must continue to maintain the very high standards we have set for ourselves as a branch.
5. LW. – This election is going to be strictly electronic, do you have confidence that the branch has what it takes to execute an effective electronic voting?
MA. – Our branch is the Premier Bar and we are not called that for nothing. We have the capabilities both in the human resources and the technical knowhow to deliver this or any other thing we set ourselves to do. The members of the electoral committee are seasoned and experienced professionals and I have no doubt in my mind that they will deliver a first class election that will be the envy of all.
6. LW. –How long have you been into Lagos NBA politics?
MA. – I am not really comfortable with the word ‘politics’ because I don’t see myself as a politician and I don’t want to be one. I pride myself in being available to serve people and to serve our members. It gives me deep satisfaction when our members have any issue or complaints resolved. I have been a member of NBA Lagos for close to a decade now and I have tried to contribute my own quota to the development of the Branch.
7. LW. – How do you manage the demands of your practice and the pressure of NBA politics?
MA. – I will take NBA politics to mean the duties of being a member of the executive committee of the branch. It has been tasking but I have been able to manage. My firm M. B. Abiola & Co. has a strong cast of seasoned legal practitioners support staff and this has made it easy to delegate work in the office to create time for other things.
8. LW. – There is a feeling that the NBA does not know its members; that there is no central database of all lawyers in the Branch. What is your position on this?
MA. – Yes I believe so, although I think this is not totally correct with respect to Lagos Branch. As part of the current administration we have been working hard to collate details of our members. That was one of the ideas behind the creation of our website ‘nbalagos.org’. We have a members’ directory on the website, however it is something that must be improved upon and I intend to do so. Members and non-members alike must be able to confirm the status of any member of our branch at the click of a button. In this era where foreign law firms and other businesses want to engage our colleagues in Nigeria to represent their interests in the country, we must be able to provide a platform for that. This will greatly enhance as well as improve the visibility of legal practitioners to the outside world.
9. LW. – When you are declared winner, what kind of Branch Secretariat do you plan to run?
MA. –I cannot say it enough that as the Premier Bar, we deserve to have a world class secretariat that is proactive in meeting the needs of our members and the general public as well as providing world class service delivery to our members. This is the type of Secretariat I want to run. As part of the current executive committee we have employed an administrator as part of the staff of the branch. This has improved our staff strength both in quantity and most critically in quality too. I intend to maintain and improve upon this upward trajectory.
10. LW. – If you could change one thing in the NBA Secretariat, what would it be?
MA. –If I could change one thing? In actual fact I want to change a few things. But in keeping with the question here, I will like to change the fact that our members come to the branch secretariat and they are asked to go and make photocopies of the documents they want to submit. I have said it in my manifesto that members will no longer have to do that. There will be a photocopying machine at the secretariat for members to use at no cost. FREE OF CHARGE.